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Do you brine your leg of lamb? And should I remove the bone?

Do you brine your leg of lamb? And should I remove the bone?
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  • Post #31 - April 7th, 2009, 4:25 pm
    Post #31 - April 7th, 2009, 4:25 pm Post #31 - April 7th, 2009, 4:25 pm
    gleam wrote:
    budrichard wrote:Jacques also has a recipe whereby a boned and butterflyed leg of lamb is first marinated in soy, honey, a little cayyene powder and some other spices. The whole thing is then quickly seared and roasted on both sides on a charcoal grill and then left to rest for at least 30 minutes. Some of the tastyest lamb I have ever eaten. This is the only time I do anyting half equivalent to brining with lamb otherwise I just enjoy the natural flavor of the lamb.-Dick


    So... you "marinate" the lamb in a liquid full of salt and sugar and spices, and it produces delicious lamb, but you don't think brining makes sense? A water/salt/sugar/spice marinade is just a brine by another name..

    And CI is Cooks Illustrated. I've never tried the brine, but based on your experience with Pepin's brine and the reports above, I'm eager to try it.


    Marinate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marinate
    Brine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brining

    While I will agree that both methods add salt, the intent of marinating is to add flavor and tenderize and if not done for too long a time will only add surface salt/tenderizing where as brining infuses the meat with salt throuout.-Dick
    Last edited by budrichard on April 8th, 2009, 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #32 - April 7th, 2009, 6:42 pm
    Post #32 - April 7th, 2009, 6:42 pm Post #32 - April 7th, 2009, 6:42 pm
    You can link me to as many wikipedia pages as you want. Pepin's mixture is a brine.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #33 - April 14th, 2009, 2:50 pm
    Post #33 - April 14th, 2009, 2:50 pm Post #33 - April 14th, 2009, 2:50 pm
    Since you folks are so helpful, I figured I would relay how everything went on Easter, in spite of any embarassment I might have. (There was a faux pas.)

    I picked up my 8 lb boneless leg on Saturday and because of it's size, and the room in my fridge, I decided to salt/sugar and wrap it, rather than do a traditional water brine. The good folks at Cooks Illustrated have been touting this as alternative to brining in many recipies. The theory is that the salt pulls out some moisture and then osmosis pulls the salty moisture back into the meat, resulting in similar properties as brining. I made a paste of a head of garlic, a good handful of mint leaves, a tablespoon of kosher salt and about a tablespoon of honey, and some pepper all mashed in a morter and pestle. I put the meat in a big bag and applied the paste the afternoon before roasting.

    On Sunday morning, I set my alarm to wake me at 4am, to allow enough time for the meat to reach temperature in a 225 degree oven by brunch time. . . then went back to bed. At 7:30 I checked on the meat. . . and it was done, reading 123 degrees on my meat thermometer! My wife claims I had it set at 325 rather than 225, but in my haste to turn the oven off, I didn't check it. . . I do believe that it was possible, given my state of mind at 4am.

    So, I pulled the roast and wrapped it in foil, then plastic wrap, then a thick towel, and left it to "rest" for 3.5 hours. It was still hot at 11am, and the oven was set at 450 for some potatoes I was doing, so I threw the roast back in on the now empty potato sheetpan to brown up for 15 minutes. I had made a mint au jus out of the pan drippings, about half a cup of vinegar, meat drippings, more mint, a shallot, and another dollop of honey, simmered together for about a half hour, then strained.

    Everyone raved. The meat turned out very tender for a leg of lamb, and the garlic and mint worked great. I like mine blood rare, and it was a little over done for me, more medium/medium rare, but the salt and honey did get into the meat and kept it juicy and well seasoned.

    Things learned:
    - Always double check the temperature on the oven, especially at 4am
    - Don't panic, everything will probably work out.
    - Try a recipie before serving it to 20 relatives, if just to calm your own nerves
    - It is probably not good to leave hot cooked food out for 3+ hours, but you may not kill your guests, if you get lucky.
    - Salting a roast the day before is a good idea.
    - While not ideal, having the main course done well before everyone shows up makes cooking for a crowd much easier. Heck, the roasting pan was cleaned and put away before everyone showed up, and the pan dripping sauce got a good long simmer.
    Last edited by MelT on April 14th, 2009, 3:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    Today I caught that fish again, that lovely silver prince of fishes,
    And once again he offered me, if I would only set him free—
    Any one of a number of wonderful wishes... He was delicious! - Shel Silverstein
  • Post #34 - April 14th, 2009, 3:03 pm
    Post #34 - April 14th, 2009, 3:03 pm Post #34 - April 14th, 2009, 3:03 pm
    BTW. . . Here is Mark Bittman's Recipe for slow cooked Leg of Lamb, which served as partial inspiration.

    http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/recipe-of-the-day-slow-cooked-leg-of-lamb-with-fresh-mint-sauce/
    Today I caught that fish again, that lovely silver prince of fishes,
    And once again he offered me, if I would only set him free—
    Any one of a number of wonderful wishes... He was delicious! - Shel Silverstein
  • Post #35 - April 15th, 2009, 3:05 pm
    Post #35 - April 15th, 2009, 3:05 pm Post #35 - April 15th, 2009, 3:05 pm
    Glad your leg of lamb worked out OK!
    I suspect that if you just seasoned the leg before normal roasting and resting the results would have been the same and easier for you. It's been my experience that Cook's Illustrated puts out convoluted recipes to justify thier 'search for something better', when any good book on cooking clasically will already have a tried and true technique/recipe.
    Theories are good but unless you know how to verify them, that's all they remain, theories. -Dick
  • Post #36 - September 19th, 2017, 1:59 pm
    Post #36 - September 19th, 2017, 1:59 pm Post #36 - September 19th, 2017, 1:59 pm
    I made leg of lamb last night and it came out OK, but not great. Here's what I did - I took out the bone, flattened it, and marinated it in soy, wine, garlic and rosemary. I roasted it in a 400F oven until it was 130F internal, and let it rest for 10 minutes. It seemed to be letting out a lot of juice as it sat. I sliced it and it was beautiful - medium rare and juicy. But by the time I started to eat it, maybe 5 mins later, it was no longer juicy. It was tender and tasty, but not juicy. Am I doing something wrong? When I do lamb chops or rack of lamb they are always juicy. Perhaps it was the section I cut, which was not the fattiest part? TIA.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #37 - September 19th, 2017, 4:24 pm
    Post #37 - September 19th, 2017, 4:24 pm Post #37 - September 19th, 2017, 4:24 pm
    I don't think you did anything wrong. I've played around with roasting leg of lamb for years and haven't figured out a "best" way to do it. Now I pretty much go slow, roasting at 325 until the internal temp is 130. No brining needed, but I do try to dry rub it hours ahead of time and start with the lamb close to room temperature. Last leg I did I rubbed with a mix of salt, pepper, crushed fennel seed, rosemary, garlic and lemon zest. I'm a fan of bone-in, but butterflied leg tastes pretty great, too, and it's easier to carve. And if you prefer to roasting hot (over 350), limiting your rub to the inside of a butterflied leg will keep the rub from burning.

    I'll guess that your latest result was due to the particular leg you got. If it's only the small end (6ish lbs maybe?) could be younger and have less fat. Also, it could have been hurried to market a bit; what the butchers call "green". Older lamb develops more flavor and any lamb benefits from hanging at least 2-3 weeks after slaughter.

    Past couple years I've grown very fond of thick shoulder chops (blade) over a wood fire, seasoned with salt, pepper, and dressed with olive oil just before serving. Easy and every one seems to like them.
  • Post #38 - September 19th, 2017, 5:05 pm
    Post #38 - September 19th, 2017, 5:05 pm Post #38 - September 19th, 2017, 5:05 pm
    Maybe try a longer rest before carving. A leg of lamb is a big piece of meat, and 10 mins isn't all that long a resting period. I usually rest mine at least 30 mins. Juices can run out resulting in a dry roast if you don't rest it long enough.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #39 - September 19th, 2017, 6:38 pm
    Post #39 - September 19th, 2017, 6:38 pm Post #39 - September 19th, 2017, 6:38 pm
    stevez wrote:Maybe try a longer rest before carving. A leg of lamb is a big piece of meat, and 10 mins isn't all that long a resting period. I usually rest mine at least 30 mins. Juices can run out resulting in a dry roast if you don't rest it long enough.


    This was my first thought also.
  • Post #40 - September 19th, 2017, 7:32 pm
    Post #40 - September 19th, 2017, 7:32 pm Post #40 - September 19th, 2017, 7:32 pm
    Mix flour and water - make a dough without salt, not too soft though, and roll it until 0.15" - 0.2 " thick. Put your already salted, spiced, "garlic'd", bay leafed, whatever you like to use, ready to go meat (pig, lamb, leg, shoulder or whatever meat/part you feel good about) in the middle of the dough and wrap it up slowly. After you finish wrapping make a little hole at the top and send it to roast. After few hours let it sit and before serving break the dough crust and throw it away.
  • Post #41 - September 19th, 2017, 7:40 pm
    Post #41 - September 19th, 2017, 7:40 pm Post #41 - September 19th, 2017, 7:40 pm
    As with pretty much any cooking question, Kenji L-A has the answer and it isn't what you'd think (it's about temp, not time). http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/12/how-to-have-juicy-meats-steaks-the-food-lab-the-importance-of-resting-grilling.html
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #42 - September 20th, 2017, 5:43 am
    Post #42 - September 20th, 2017, 5:43 am Post #42 - September 20th, 2017, 5:43 am
    "Am I doing something wrong?"
    You may have done nothing wrong.
    In the intervening years since I last Posted in this Thread, I have turned to Fresh Farms on Touhy for my lamb exclusively.
    A source I used in Wisconsin that sells to restaurants has become a purveyor instead of grower and is unreliable to boot.
    Fresh Farms has excellent Choice lamb and the people there Know how to cut.
    I order a 'Baby' lamb at Easter, roast one leg, one or two shoulders depending on the crowd. The rest is reserved for another occasion. I purchase chops and ground lamb periodically during the year from Fresh Farms. The lamb is US sourced and of Choice Grade. I simply cannot find Prime Graded lamb anymore at a reasonable price.
    There is a lot of lamb on the market from New Zealand, basically grass fed and more akin to domestic venison.
    Where did you purchase your lamb from and do you know it's source?
    After that, cooking to an internal temp and resting as Posted is the key.
    I have found that butterflying is particularly successful on the grill due to the very hot temps and grill taste.-Richard
  • Post #43 - September 20th, 2017, 3:49 pm
    Post #43 - September 20th, 2017, 3:49 pm Post #43 - September 20th, 2017, 3:49 pm
    Thanks all - longer rest. I didn't think it was that thick, but will give it a try. Though it was already oozing lots and lots of juice as it just sat resting...
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #44 - September 20th, 2017, 5:46 pm
    Post #44 - September 20th, 2017, 5:46 pm Post #44 - September 20th, 2017, 5:46 pm
    budrichard wrote:"...
    In the intervening years since I last Posted in this Thread, I have turned to Fresh Farms on Touhy for my lamb exclusively.
    A source I used in Wisconsin that sells to restaurants has become a purveyor instead of grower and is unreliable to boot.
    Fresh Farms has excellent Choice lamb and the people there Know how to cut.
    ...


    Thanks for this. I'm always looking for advice on where to get lamb - it has become a staple protein in our household.
  • Post #45 - September 20th, 2017, 8:18 pm
    Post #45 - September 20th, 2017, 8:18 pm Post #45 - September 20th, 2017, 8:18 pm
    A neighbor of mine goes to Fresh Farms (Wheeling, I think), rather than anywhere closer, for ground lamb.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #46 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:28 am
    Post #46 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:28 am Post #46 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:28 am
    Local Foods (home to the former Butcher and Larder folks) has very excellent quality lamb they often butcher the day you buy it (but call ahead to see if they have it). I did an excellent lamb stew with cuts from the leg in my pressure cooker in three steps: stock in cooker (15 minutes), lamb with stock (18 minutes), lamb with stock and the inclusion of vegetables (10 minutes). Obviously different from an intact leg of lamb, but all of their meat is great and they will de-bone and tie anything you like as well.
  • Post #47 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:44 am
    Post #47 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:44 am Post #47 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:44 am
    whocanitbenow wrote:Local Foods (home to the former Butcher and Larder folks)


    Just to clarify—Butcher & Larder is very much still in business AT Local Foods—they are a vendor in that complex.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #48 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:52 am
    Post #48 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:52 am Post #48 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:52 am
    boudreaulicious wrote:
    whocanitbenow wrote:Local Foods (home to the former Butcher and Larder folks)


    Just to clarify—Butcher & Larder is very much still in business AT Local Foods—they are a vendor in that complex.


    No, that's what I meant--it's their new home and has been for some time.
  • Post #49 - December 24th, 2020, 10:30 am
    Post #49 - December 24th, 2020, 10:30 am Post #49 - December 24th, 2020, 10:30 am
    I am making lamb biriyani tonight. I got the lamb chunks by cutting up a leg of lamb. This has left me with some gorgeous pieces of fat. Does anyone have any ideas for a use of this fat? The only thing I can think of is making some sausage that uses lamb.
  • Post #50 - December 24th, 2020, 1:13 pm
    Post #50 - December 24th, 2020, 1:13 pm Post #50 - December 24th, 2020, 1:13 pm
    HI,

    I would save it for making pilaf. Long ago, Culinary Historians of Chicago made pilaf from one of the stans. One recipe called for pouring fat from a lamb's tail to help crisp the rice.

    Searing meat and roasting vegetables with lamb fat are good uses.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #51 - December 24th, 2020, 1:21 pm
    Post #51 - December 24th, 2020, 1:21 pm Post #51 - December 24th, 2020, 1:21 pm
    lougord99 wrote:I am making lamb biriyani tonight. I got the lamb chunks by cutting up a leg of lamb. This has left me with some gorgeous pieces of fat. Does anyone have any ideas for a use of this fat? The only thing I can think of is making some sausage that uses lamb.

    Last time I ended up with bunch of lamb fat, I vacuum-sealed/froze some of it raw for later (sausage) use. I rendered the rest of it and made a lamb fat roux, which I also vacuum-sealed. I keep it in the freezer for thickening sauces, gravies, etc. It's very specific but I find that it still comes in handy from time to time.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

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